star trek into darkness

Heresy of the Week – I don’t actually want a new Star Trek series

kirk and spock

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

“Every Trekie wants to see Star Trek return to its original and first home, on television, including me. But despite that constant desire, a new Star Trek series, now, born out of the J.J. Abrams films, would be neither the Star Trek we want, or the Star Trek we deserve.”

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Star Trek Into Darkness wasn’t Wrath of Khan

star trek into darkness trailer hands

Far from being a copy (in reverse) of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek Into Darkness was the natural successor to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot, in story, tone and character.

Ah, Star Trek Into Darkness. You aren’t the most hated of films, in fact by many (myself included) you were rather enjoyed. But there were also those who complained that, by riffing heavily off arguably the franchise’s most successful Trek onto the big screen (see what I did there) it showed an unforgivable lack of originality.

Says io9’s Rob Bricken:

That’s my biggest problem with the new Star Trek — that after a requisite origin story that needlessly pulled in Leonard Nimoy, they were content to give a retread of Wrath of Khan instead of giving us anything new or unexpected…they started a whole new Trek universe, and could have done practically anything. Instead, we got a mercenary remake of the most widely known Trek story out there.

With respect to Rob, whilst he’s right about how much Abrams ignored the opportunity to really explore the alternate timeline, he’s wrong about it being a straight Wrath of Khan do-over. And here is why.

Read on…

Star Trek Into Darkness – Theories and Speculation [Contains potential spoilers]

star trek into darknessSo today saw the release of the first trailer for the next film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, entitled Star Trek Into Darkness. Speculation about it has been rife for months, but has hit a particular fever pitch with it. Primarily this has been around what character Benedict Cumberbatch (Yes, he’s in this, as well as every other film of the moment) will be playing.

And, after watching the trailer on my lunch break (as a true geek should) I’m ready to make my prediction, and to stake it on line for prosperity to be either vindicated or humiliated in time to come.

I think that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Gary Mitchell.

Gary Mitchell, for the uninitiated, featured in the first proper episode of Star Trek: The Original Series as Captain Kirk’s best friend from the academy. I won’t give specifics, but it doesn’t end well for Mitchell. Mitchell is a name which has been mentioned a fair bit amongst fans, along with Khan Noonien Singh (of Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan fame). There are a few reasons why I think Mitchell is more likely than Khan:

  1. Khan would be just too predictable. When Abrams and co rebooted the franchise, they made a special point of turning the concept upside down. To then, for their second film, to follow the track of the orginal second film… It just feels too easy.
  2. There isn’t time for Khan. Khan’s appearance in The Wrath of Khan was actually a follow-up to an episode of the TV series. Cumberbatch specifically says in the trailer “I have returned, to have my vengeance.” There doesn’t seem — to me — to be enough time in a film to do the two storylines justice. He could be taking revenge on humanity, rather than Kirk, but still…
  3. Cumberbatch is wearing a Starfleet uniform. Mitchell, in the original story, was at the Academy with Kirk. Of course, Kirk attended the academy later in the new timeline, so its likely that he wouldn’t have been at the Academy with Mitchell. Hence, Mitchell’s backstory could be told during the film trek into darkness trailer benedict cumberbatch
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch is white. This might seem a silly point, but the character of Khan was not a white character. At the first suggestion that it might be Khan, there were rumblings about why Abrams would cast a white actor in a (rare) minority ethnic role. I think there’s potential for it to seriously piss off people in the “how dare you mess with the cannon?” camp as well as non-white audiences.

So there we have it. I’m by no means certain that it will be Mitchell rather than Khan. And, indeed, it could potentially be neither and we’re just all being led down the garden path. But I’m leaning ever closer to Gary Mitchell.

Of course, the most exciting image of the film wasn’t Cumberbatch flipping around like a slimline Bane, but rather this:

star trek into darkness trailer handsThis frame (only appearing in the longer Japanese version of the trailer) will be familiar to anyone who remembers The Wrath of Khan. It is, of course, Spock’s death scene. It’s a bit of a hint towards Cumberbatch being Khan, but again it runs up against the first point I made. I don’t believe that JJ Abrams would be content to rehash the originals.

Of course, if I was writing the film (which, as you may have noticed, I’m not), I’d reverse it. I’d have it as Kirk’s death scene, rather than Spock’s, especially as the first film moved towards a more emotional Spock. I’m not sure that’s what will happen, especially since you don’t kill off your lead character so early into your new franchise (well, unless he’s played by Sean Bean).

But still, the net result of this trailer is that I’m now very much looking forward to 17th May 2013.